And you thought Sunday was ugly.
You (and everyone outside of Indianapolis) also thought the Denver Broncos were better than the Colts. And while you knew that Broncos assistant coaches were being courted by other teams, you probably didn’t know that the head coach was considering other options, too.
Or was it the other way around?
Jay Glazer’s report on Sunday – a short but notable commentary that suggested there would be a “pretty good chance” that John Fox would be available to other teams should the Broncos lose to the Colts – arrived before the game. The timing of Glazer’s prognosis seemed odd, borderline inappropriate. And approximately 24 hours later, it seemed as if Glazer knew a lot more than he “sort of” led on.
To be fair, anyone could have speculated such a thing. After all, Twitter is filled with one-uppers who aren’t afraid to make bold predictions; rarely are there consequences. But Glazer isn’t just some hack with a football hobby; various reports over the last two days link Glazer and Fox as “friends,” a label that was born of Fox’s days in New York, a label that’s made this whole situation smell more than fishy.
Glazer’s flippant remark was more than tossing out a line. He definitely knew something we didn’t – perhaps something not even John Elway knew. Today, when Elway meets with the press to address the current state of the Broncos, and throughout the days to come, we’ll learn more about this situation: What was the straw that ultimately broke the camel’s back? How long had the marriage between Fox and the Broncos been on the rocks? Why would the coach’s friend and media buddy break such a story before what might have been the most important game of his life?
What exactly we’ll learn is still to be determined, but the more we discover, one truth seems apt: Something about this feels dirty.
If you’re a fan of the Broncos, you don’t have to like the fact that assistant coaches entertain coaching vacancies while still performing their duties as assistants. But that part comes along with winning, and the Broncos – under Fox or under Elway, however you want to look at it – have won. With a record of 46-18, a franchise’s assistants will get plenty of looks. Ultimately, that’s a good thing, a notion fans can begrudgingly accept.
But to pay good money for a playoff ticket, then learn the head coach might have had one foot out the door before the ball is ever teed up? That’s a stomach turner.
And if you’re looking to validate the assertion that Fox was “out shopping” instead of being a “dead man walking,” all one has to do is apply logic. Ask yourself this: What does Elway have to gain by informing his head coach that his head’s on the chopping block?
Nothing. Nada. Zilch. Heading into the postseason, you’d want everyone within your organization “United in Orange.” Wouldn’t you?
The media can apply the same type of common sense. For four years, “old Uncle Foxy” dragged flocks of poor reporters through a weekly rope-a-dope session of questions and answers. When the mics were on, Fox was the master of saying nothing anytime he opened his mouth. White noise – that’s all Fox ever offered. He didn’t necessarily “lie,” but he never said anything of substance, either.
So why then, after Sunday’s loss, would anything change?
When asked about his thoughts on reports that had surfaced (Glazer’s comments, to be specific) suggesting he might become “available” after the loss, Fox gave a patented Fox answer: “I’ve seen all kind of reports in the past, I’m sure I’ll see some moving forward. I don’t make those decisions, I don’t control that. My intentions are to be a Denver Bronco and have been since I got here. It’s not about me; it’s about this football team.”
Today, like most days, it feels like Fox’s words weren’t worth the paper upon which they were written.
If you sat in disbelief on Sunday, screaming for more blitzes and better play calling, lamenting the general cloud of apathy that seemed to be hovering over the Broncos, it turns out you weren’t being some kind of fanatical lunatic. In fact, your observations were likely spot on – your infuriating interpretations were no different than Elway’s. You wanted to run Fox and Del Rio out of town; less than 24 hours removed from the loss, Elway did.
Today, it feels like Fox got what he seemingly deserved, but it still doesn’t feel good – feels like anyone who bought in needs to hop in the shower. It’s one thing to get beat; it’s quite another when the head coach and his staff were making postgame plans that were quite different than one might have hoped.
How does a team go from a Super Bowl contender to a house divided overnight? The real answer is that it doesn’t; it’s just so happens that we had to find out about it at the most inopportune time.